Since Thomas was born, I’ve chosen to breastfeed him (with lots of support along the way!) It’s certainly an around-the-clock job, but I absolutely love it especially now that I’ve altered one of my favorite cookie recipes to be more lactation friendly!
These dairy-free (optional gluten-free) lactation cookies are not only delicious but also healthy for new mamas and babies. I first made a variation of these cookies over 10 years ago using Heidi’s recipe and still thought about them 10 years later because they were just that good. With a little modification on the recipe, these cookies are now beneficial for me AND baby Thomas. I can’t have dairy while breastfeeding so these don’t contain any butter, while most lactation cookie recipes do.
Do new mothers need any more of an excuse to eat delicious cookies? I know I am all for it! But really, the ingredients in these cookies are known for boosting breast milk supply – which I’ll break down further on in the post.
Keep reading for my own spin on this yummy and healthy lactation cookies recipe. A lot of the ingredients contain some form of galactagogue (a substance that promotes lactation) used to treat low milk supply. Hopefully, other new mamas out there can make this recipe at home to support their breastfeeding needs and also have a yummy snack in between feedings!
Lactation Cookies Recipe
Note: These lactation cookies are not overly sweet and aren’t like a typical oatmeal location cookie. There are plenty of recipes out there for lactation oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but since they all started to taste the same to me, I wanted something different — both in texture and taste — and something less sweet! I opted for a reduced sugar recipe to make it just a little more healthy, but still deliciously yummy. I even have to make extra since Tommy ends up snacking on them too. They’re also dairy free!
This recipe is very similar to a general cookie recipe with a few milk-friendly ingredients, which means you’ll enjoy these even if you aren’t breastfeeding!
What You Need To Make Lactation Cookies
2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats!)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon aniseed, crushed in mortar and pestle (or spice grinder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 T brewer’s yeast (optional – can leave out if not breastfeeding)
1 T flax meal
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
one 15-ounce can of cannellini beans rinsed & drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped dried figs (when I want a little more sweetness, I’ll up this to ½ cup)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
Ingredients Supporting Lactation
Oats are high in iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium, which are helpful in increasing the milk supply. Plus they are so versatile! For instance, I use them for my Apple Oatmeal Bake, my whole grain oat waffles and my vegan buckwheat chocolate chip cookies!
Aniseed is a popular ingredient to boost milk supply because of the diantheole and photoantheole that has mild estrogenic effects. It has a distinct licorice taste, which I LOVE, but not everyone does. Add a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon if it’s not your favorite!
Also known as baker’s yeast, it’s technically a type of fungus. Brewer’s yeast is super rich in vitamins, minerals, and is used in many cultures to promote lactation in women.
Sesame seeds are rich in protein, fiber, calcium and have phytochemicals that could promote prolactin secretion and increase breast milk supply. I really love the taste of sesame seeds in cookies which is why I used 1/3 cup in this recipe. (Tip: buy them in bulk from Thrive Market!)
Flax meal is essentially ground up flaxseed. And flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid plus other micronutrients that are good for growth and development of both baby and mother. It also contains phytoestrogens that can increase breast milk supply. I buy this at Trader Joe’s.
**Make sure you don’t buy whole flax seeds. The nutrients in flaxseed are only available for us to digest if they’ve been ground up which is why I always choose flax meal!
How To Make Lactation Cookies
Like any good cookie recipe, this one is pretty straightforward. I prefer to roll my cookies in the sesame seeds rather than mix them in, but either works. This lactation cookie recipe is pretty low in sugar which is why I like adding in the dried figs or dates to have a little pop of sweetness in every bite.
Chocolate chips are great too if you want more sweetness! But be sure to choose dairy-free chocolate if you need to avoid it. I also like the Enjoy Life ones, which I get at Thrive Market.
Preheat the oven to 350’F
Combine all dry ingredients except sugar in a large mixing bowl (flour, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, brewer’s yeast, sea salt, and lemon zest)
Pulse the beans and olive oil in the food processor until smooth and creamy. Add in egg, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The dough should start to pull away from the sides. Stir in chopped figs or dates.
In a separate small bowl, pour in 1/3 cup of sesame seeds. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the dough and gentle roll into a ball. Roll the dough in the sesame seeds and place on your prepared pan and flatten slightly. Repeat with all the dough.
Place the baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start turning a light brown.
After removing the cookies from the oven, let them cool on the baking rack before serving (about 5 minutes)
**If you want to make a double batch, just double all the ingredients!
Lactation Cookie Variations
You could substitute brown sugar or white granulated sugar for coconut sugar. I prefer coconut sugar since it’s slightly healthier. I haven’t tried this recipe with honey or maple syrup, but I imagine that could work, too.
I haven’t attempted to make this recipe gluten-free, but I think subbing the whole wheat flour with Oat flour or gluten-free all purpose flour would work best. If you try it, let me know! Also, double check that your rolled oats (and oats flour if you use this) are labeled gluten free oats since oats are often manufactured in the same area as regular flour and can be cross-contaminated with other gluten products.
To make these cookies vegan, you just need to substitute the egg out. I like to use a “chia egg” or even a “flaxseed egg” when I’ve either 1) run out of eggs or 2) baking something for my vegan friends and family. . For both the “chia egg” and “flaxseed egg”,just mix ? chia or flaxseed with ? water and let it sit for 3-5 minutes before you add it to the mixture. It should be well thickened after sitting. This may also impact the texture just a bit. If you try it, let me know how it goes!
If you want this recipe to be even more of a booster for your breast milk, sub the olive oil for coconut oil. Coconut is super nutritious with medium-chain fatty acids that include capric acid and lauric acid – both of which help protect your baby from bacteria and viruses. If you’re breastfeeding, you need a lot of fat to build and sustain a healthy milk supply.
If you love chocolate chip cookies, feel free to stir in chocolate chips!
Okay, here’s the recipe!
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats!)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon aniseed, crushed in mortar and pestle (or spice grinder)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 T brewer’s yeast (optional – can leave out if not breastfeeding)
- 1 T flax meal
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- one 15-ounce can of cannellini beans rinsed & drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped dried figs (when I want a little more sweetness, I’ll up this to
- ½ cup)
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350’F
- Combine all dry ingredients except the sugar in a large mixing bowl (flour, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, brewer’s yeast, sea salt and lemon zest)
- Pulse the rinsed beans and olive oil in the food processor until smooth and creamy. Add in egg, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in chopped figs or dates.
- In a separate small bowl, pour in 1/3 cup of sesame seeds.
- Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the dough and gentle roll into a ball. Roll the dough in the sesame seeds and place on your prepared pan and flatten slightly. Repeat with all the dough.
- Place the baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start turning a light brown.
- After removing the cookies from the oven, let them cool on the baking rack before serving (about 5 minutes)
**If you want to make a double batch, just double all the ingredients!
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